Your Weekend Arts Advisory


What to do? What to see? How about ridiculously bad movies being ridiculed on stage? Or peruse all kinds of new bikes and gear to get ready for spring riding? Or see the choreography from West Side Story danced live? (Or see the original movie, with Rita Moreno, pictured above, if you prefer.) These and more cultural activities after the jump...

FRIDAY: Cinematic Titanic

Cult films have a long history of attracting audiences to jeer at their bizarre scripts, horrible acting, and cheap sets. You can't explain why you enjoy them; you just do. Joel Hodgson and his late '80s show, Mystery Science Theater 3000, caught a ride on that inexplicable obsession (and the Satellite of Love) with a simple concept: watch movies and make fun of them. And we (geeks) watched and loved the cult program, launched on basic cable in Minnesota. It was life ridiculing bad art. After Hodgson's departure, the show continued until 1999. Now, he explained recently by phone from Los Angeles, he and several original writer-performers have regrouped to form Cinematic Titanic, a not-too-distant relative of MST3K. Of the new touring comedy troupe, which vends its spoofs via DVD and download from its Web site, says Hodgson, "Cinematic Titanic is like a boat on fire right now. Something is going on and I can't say what. But it has something to do with being in front of an audience." Robots Crow and Tom Servo, alas, are gone. But Hodgson is looking forward to his two Seattle shows (tonight and Saturday): "People are really into it." That, sir, is a monstrous understatement. King Cat Theater, 2130 Sixth Ave., 448-2829, $42. 8 p.m. NEIL ESTEP

SATURDAY: Broadway Festival

In a field where there's already a high tolerance for repetition, Jerome Robbins still took it to extremes. Famously painstaking throughout his career on Broadway, in films, and in ballet, he wanted perfection from himself and his dancers. And he often came very, very close. Robbins' first encounter with West Side Story was as part of the team creating the 1957 Broadway show that altered the direction of musical theater, proving that dance was a dramatic tool rather than just a pretty sideshow. When it came to the 1961 movie version (see below), his insistence on multiple rehearsals put the project so far behind schedule that he was taken off the job before they filmed the "Dance at the Gym" number, but you can still see his mark throughout the film. His final version of West Side Story came close to the end of his life during his tenure with New York City Ballet. By making a suite of the dance numbers, he distilled both the story and his own craft. His work, along with that of George Balanchine, Susan Stroman, and Christopher Wheeldon, will be featured in PNB's Broadway Festival (through March 22). McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St., 441-2424, $20-$155. 7:30 p.m. SANDRA KURTZ

Seattle International Bike Expo

What's so international? We have no idea, but your passports are likely not required for admittance. The range of new bikes and accessories, however, will probably run from Italy to China and back. Some 150 different vendors are expected, along with bikes on display for show, not sale. You can ride there via the Burke-Gilman Trail (bring your own lock), drive, or take Metro's Route 30. Free bike fittings are being promised (courtesy of sponsor Group Health), so you can ride home more comfortably than you arrived. On Friday at 8 p.m., with separate $20 tickets available in advance, Versus Netrowk commentator/goofball Bob Roll will deliver a talk sure to mention Lance Armstrong's comeback and chances at this year's Tour de France. The weekend event (through Sunday) effectively launches the spring cycling season. Even if you don't have much money to spend during our present recession, you'll probably pick up some inspiration to ride. And that, at least, is free. Magnuson Park, 7400 Sand Point Way N.E., 522-3222, $8 (cash only). 10 a.m.-4 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

SUNDAY: West Side Story

Maria! Maria! Maria! West Side Story is being screened in conjunction with PNB's Broadway Festival (see above). The 1961 take on Romeo and Juliet racked up 10 Oscars and remains a high-water mark for postwar American movie musicals. With a knockout book and score by Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein, the film boasts choreography by Jerome Robbins. (And, yes, you can see some of his same dances performed live next door.) We'll admit that Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer don't make the most dynamic or believable couple (while Rita Moreno is hot), but with the Sharks and Jets dancing madly around them--who cares? SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St. (McCaw Hall), 448-2186, $7-$10. 2 and 6 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

George de Forest Brush

As a sidebar to the gargantuan new Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness show, 21 paintings of American Indians by George de Forest Brush occupy two smaller, lower galleries at SAM (also through May 24). A contemporary of Northwest photographer Edward S. Curtis, Brush (1855-1941) came later to the Indian theme, but displays the same romantic--and not always historically accurate--tendencies. His subjects occupy idealized patches of wilderness, hunting free in grasslands and lakes not yet despoiled by the white man. His serene canvases look backward, before the Indian wars and reservations. There is no Trail of Tears, and the influence of James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans is strongly felt. A Southerner who trained in Paris then returned to the U.S., Brush renders our continent's original residents (and owners) as noble savages. The images are dangerously close to van murals, but there's a strangeness that pulls them back from kitsch. Brush's nature scenes, often with Audubon-style birds in them, have an under-glass airlessness to them. They're specimens of something extinct, a way of life that disappeared during his own lifetime. Brush drew from life, as these paintings show. I prefer the smaller adjacent gallery of Indian heads and facial sketches--the preliminary portraiture before Brush inserted these figures into a landscape from which, in truth, they had already been removed. Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., 654-3121, $9-$15. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

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